The Momijis of Shosenkyo
Taking advantage of the government’s Go to Travel Campaign, the other week, I purchased a return ticket from Shinjuku to Kofu on the Azusa / Kaiji / FUJI EXCURSION trains. Originally, the cost was Y9,000. However, I only paid Y6,000 and was even given a coupon worth Y2,000 that I used to grab two little packs of local souvenirs.
It took just over ninety minutes on the Kaiji Limited Express to Kofu. The coach was practically mine. There were only a few passengers on board. I felt extremely privileged. It was a Wednesday and I deliberately avoided traveling on the weekend.
From Kofu Station, I hopped onto a bus. Surprisingly, the bus was full of elderly hikers and tourists. Everyone was dressed for the short hike; others were in full mountain climbing outfits, and I supposed they were planning to take a completely different course. It was a thirty minute ride to Nagatoro-bashi, the entrance to Shosenkyo Gorge. The 4-km walk to Sen-ga-taki Waterfall began. To be transported right into the middle of vast nature and cascading mountains felt like I’d just descended from a time machine. I started taking pictures. The two-hour hike turned into three. The place abounds with beauty, especially on a fine day. It was a waste, I thought, to be in a hurry. Thus, I walked at my own pace and pleasure.
Blessed with a sunny weather, the momijis displayed their finest colors and subtleties. Sunlight descending slowly into the valley illuminated the gorge, cliffs, giant rocks, leaves, and the river. The chiaroscuro of the gentle November light produced very delicate colors and details.
I’d come to Shosenkyo to see the autumn foliage but was grandly surprised that there was a lot more than just colors and beautiful leaves. There was this unexplained mystery in the beauty and depth of the place.
Even after the sun had left the valley, the momijis and bright leaves remained cheerful and welcoming. I promised myself to return to this place in another season.
Takanaricho, Kofu, Yamanashi 400-1214
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I have a little garden: slightly bigger than the forehead of a cat. I grow herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, and mint, and lemon grass, and lavender, and basil. Occasionally, I cook for myself. Sometimes, my Japanese wife and my daughter like my cooking. I come from the Philippines – it is said that there are more than seven thousand islands but I do not own one. I’d love to, though. I always carry a camera with me – in my walks, journeys, and wanderings. Most of the time, I’m home – staring at Fujisan and writing something.